I stayed at the Palmers Lodge 3 years ago for about 5 days while I was visiting London on a trip to Europe.
I had an absolutely fantastic experience here! The rooms are nice and clean, the house itself is beautiful. There is a rec room with board games, couches, a TV and some computers with free internet that is great to hang out and relax in after a day of sight seeing.
They also have a quaint little bar in the basement that offers drinks that are much cheaper than you'll find in the city and very tasty panini sandwiches. In the morning, they offer a free breakfast, which is a great start to your day.
The other facilities (bathrooms, etc.) were also clean and maintained. I met a lot of cool people here around my age (I was 20 at the time) from all over, and there's really just a friendly feeling about the place.
The staff is equally as friendly and helpful. The location is top notch, as it's in a really nice area but also very close to all the sights of London (maybe 15-20 minutes by tube), and you can get a discounted all day Tube pass there, which is very useful.
Overall, I very highly recommend this place if you're looking for a hostel and are between around 18-30. Great deal for what you get, perfect location, clean, and nice staff.
If I ever get the pleasure of going back to London and need a hostel to say in, this will undoubtedly be it!
I already ranted at length about this on Tripadvisor (sorry, Yelp!), but basically: this is a clean and well-located hostel but it also seems to have little regard for their guests.
We booked a six-night stay here about 9 months ahead of our trip. You'd think that would be plenty of time to notify us that due to some large group stay, we would be moved to a different room halfway through our stay. Perhaps that way we would have booked a stay elsewhere or at least not scheduled a day trip to Oxford on the day we were to switch rooms. Not so! We only found out as we were checking in. Okay, fine, we were stuck there at that point, but that's not all. To add insult to injury, they tried to charge us for a locker so we could store our valuables while we were on our day trip (instead of storing them in the common luggage room, because we were forced to switch rooms that day). Only after enduring some major attitude from the woman at the front desk did we at least get that locker for free. The service here in general was either heavy on the attitude, unless it was a junior employee, all of whom were polite but largely unhelpful.
I will say that the rooms and bathrooms were extremely clean, but be aware that the bathrooms close frequently (and seemingly during busy usage times) for cleaning. Also, the showers are on 30-second timers to save the environment. You can still run them as long as you want, but it involves pressing that button every 30 seconds - FYI. Towels are 3 quid, half of which you are refunded at the end.
Breakfast is free and good enough, if you don't mind eating a croissant and cereal every morning. I got sick of it soon enough. We didn't try the restaurant, but the bar was underwhelming - although it was a nice place to hang out. Overall, I wouldn't stay here again, but if you would trade decent customer service for a good location, you'll probably be okay.
My friend and I were backpacking through Europe and stayed at this hostel 3 years ago. We both had a great experience here. the rooms are nice and clean. stayed at the same room for two night and one night at a shared room with bunch of other ppl with three stories bunk beds which was fun.
There is separate room with board games, couches, TV computers with free internet but we didn't use much since we were always out. Very close to all the attractive sites and the subway. they have great breakfast too which is included with the package! I will def go here again.
the staff is absolutely great. they even have blow dryer, straightener and curler at the front desk which we got for free =D
I stayed at Palmers Lodge a total of three nights (a Thursday, Sunday + Monday) in November of 2010.
The main selling point for this hostel is its location. It's within a couple blocks to two underground stations (great if you've got luggage!) and very close to a bus stop with a direct path to Stansted. From this location, you can walk to Abbey Road, Freud's house and Camden Market.
Another positive of this hostel is their free wi-fi and if you don't have a computer, they have 6 or so desktops available for use. This came in handy a few times during my stay for looking up directions and such.
Lastly, I really liked how there were lockers located under the beds that were actually big enough to store a backpack (bring your own lock or rent one!). The lockers were much bigger than provided by other hostels. It was nice not worrying if my stuff was safe while I was out wandering London. Oh and speaking of the beds, there were lights and curtains for each bed, so you didn't have to be blind as a bat at night and you could have a bit of privacy.
So after all of these positives, why am I only giving three stars?
I found the staff to be rather rude throughout the duration of my stay. With the exception of one staff person who went above and beyond and took the time to help a friend and I find our next hostel, the staff seemed bothered if you asked a question. One morning, I stood by the desk for probably ten minutes before the employees stopped chatting and acknowledged me. On my second stay in the hostel (Sunday/Monday) night, I arrived late at night to find someone sleeping in my bed and somehow the staff made me feel like it was my fault for the error. The last straw was when one of the staff forgot to give my friend her change and then accused my friend of lying when she asked for the money owed.
Overall, I would recommend this hostel as a decently clean place to sleep in a great location, but don't expect the staff to make you feel welcome.
I will start off by mentioning that the hostel describes itself as a "boutique" hostel. I'm not sure what the hell this is supposed to mean but I was definitely thinking of something other than what I was confronted with when I arrived.
I will admit that the hostel was very clean and the beds were comfortable but it was very noisy and I think the oldest person there was maybe 21.
I enjoy staying in hostels and don't normally find the late night thing too annoying but it was all throughout the place and super loud with each room blasting a different loud crappy pop song. As a result of the lack of privacy and lack of security for belongings I moved to a hotel after my first night there.
I won't tell you that it is a shitty hostel and you should avoid it but be aware of the realities of unisex bathrooms and that it is more like a frat house than a hostel.
Top of the line hostel - complete with impeccable rooms, courteous staff, clean bathrooms and showers, wardrobes in the room, under-the-bed lockers for each patron, inexpensive on-site pub in the basement, free internet ( both WiFi as well as hostel-supplied desktops ) and complementary breakfast in the downstairs eating area.
I've stayed here on multiple occasions, once for 12 nights straight in a 4-male room where I saw, awake in the room, only 3 other people total during my entire stay there ( was almost like having a HUGE private room without having to pay for one ).
Not a party house like some other hostels I've seen, and stayed at, this place is close to family, for me, as well as being near multiple bus and tube lines ( closest station is Swiss Cottage but also near Belsize Park ), around the corner from the coach stop which gets you to Luton Airport and offers a variety of room sizes which would fit all budgets.
Oh, and did I mention that it's located in a beautiful, recently renovated Victorian mansion?
Privacy curtains on the beds with reading lights.
Clean showers and common areas
Awesome pub where I meant many great new friends.
Would absolutely recommend if you want to save a buck, and stay somewhere with history in a great neighborhood.
Palmers Lodge is almost too good to be called a hostel. I stayed here a few nights after having stayed in one of the worst hostels ever (dirty, no hot water, bathrooms smell like pee and vomit, staff who border on belligerent when they can be tracked down, finding out that the all-female room you booked doesn't actually exist, etc), and Palmers was SUCH a breath of fresh air.
It's located a short walk away from the Swiss Cottage Tube station, which isn't smack in the middle of London, but it's close enough that you can get there in no time, with the added bonus of being quiet and peaceful. The hostel itself is a renovated mansion, with stunning woodwork and grand staircases and the whole bit. The beds are wooden bunks with storage bins built in, and are actually relatively comfortable. The bathrooms were clean, the staff were friendlier than most hostel staff I've encountered, and the common areas were neat and comfortable.
With your stay you get a complimentary breakfast, served in the galley in the basement. It's run-of-the-mill cereal, toast, fruit, and juice from a machine, but the galley is clean and spacious. Plus, there's a mini-pub in the next room, which serves panini and other light dinner food with a selection of drinks for reasonable prices.
Palmers is a bit more expensive than other hostels in London, but it's definitely worth it to have a clean place to sleep, eat, and bathe. I would definitely consider staying again if my travels take me back to London.
I stayed here for two nights last month. The lodge is a short uphill walk (maybe 2 minutes) from the Swiss Cottage tube station, but the surrounding area is not very exciting. My group stayed in a ten bed female room. The room was in the basement floor, which meant very little air circulation. The weather in London during our stay was rather cool, but because of the lack of air circulation, our room was incredibly stuffy and it smelled like gym socks. Also, the wifi didn't reach our room and the common room was often full, so when I had to check my email I sometimes had to sit on a stairway.
The showers were clean, but again, no air circulation and I saw mold on the ceiling. The toilet stalls were the smallest I've ever had to use; To get out of the stall, your legs WILL rub against the toilet bowl. The bathrooms are communal for the floor, so we had to share the bathroom with a bunch of guys. Also, I dont think they clean the bathrooms every morning because I saw the same bits of gunk over twelve hours later.
The things I did enjoy about this hostel were the free breakfasts (toast, cereal, coffee and juice) and the friendly staff. I liked the large lockers under the bed and the hostel felt very safe. Each bunk had privacy curtains, a reading lamp, and an outlet.
Overall, I would consider staying here again, but I wouldn't be excited about it.
I stayed at Palmer's Lodge twice. Both stays were great. The staff is helpful; I arrived before check-in but they have a place to store luggage so I left my bags and headed out to explore unencumbered. The breakfast is good if mostly carbs and the pub is fun and friendly. I really recommend this hostel to anyone going to London. The price was right and the place was very nice and is very close to the tube.
The free-use computers were handy and a lifesaver.
This hostel is more like a 3.5 but I'm rounding up to 4 since it was a positive experience overall. I stayed for three nights in a dorm that had 28 beds; that's far more beds than any other hostel dorm I've stayed in but it was still fairly quiet.
Each bed had a privacy curtain, a locker underneath the bunk, a reading light, and a set of electrical outlets (on the bottom bunk the power strip is along the top, unfortunately the way my adapter is set up I couldn't actually fit it in and had to use another outlet outside the bed). Dorms are accessed with keycards and they offer free luggage storage. The shared showers come with private changing areas, although some of them may be missing hooks to hang your belongings. Getting hot water wasn't an issue. The hostel isn't the most centrally located but it's close enough by tube. It's in Travelcard Zone 2 near Swiss Cottage station (Jubilee line); Finchley Road station (Jubilee and Metropolitan lines) is also fairly close. The neighborhood is safe and quiet so you shouldn't woken up by loud drunks late at night.
THE NOT SO GOOD:
The wifi connection was poor; I would get disconnected about once every 20 minutes. The hostel lacks a full kitchen that guests can access; it has an eating area where they serve free breakfast and sell food in the evening. However, this area is closed off to guests in the late morning/early afternoon and during the late night hours, particularly annoying since it's the only place in the hostel that I knew of that had free drinking water (my fairly small water bottle couldn't fit in the super-small bathroom sinks).
Friendly staff, great set-up, close to Swiss Cottage and Finchley Road tube stations, just a few minutes away from Camden by bus.
The bar and restaurant they have are quite nice and with good prices but you might want to try the restaurants down on Finchley Road.
They advertise the London walks and they offer a 2£ discount for bus sightseeing tours.
I had to ask them to change my sheets because I found them to be dirty and they did it right away, I think it was an isolated incident though..
Visiting from the US, randomly decided on taking the Eurostar from Paris to London for a day by myself & needed a place to stay. This place is AWESOME, its huge, inexpensive and clean. Staff is friendly, theres a BAR downstairs, Wii in the common room and lots of computer workstations if you need to use the internet (British keyboards are different than American ones... entertained myself trying to use some symbols & getting something completely different, haha). Stayed in the cheapest one ( the dorm) and got a top bunk which I wasnt too thrilled about, but it was surrounded by a curtain, had its own little lamp and shelf-thing for my phone, underbed storage with lock and clean sheets. Didn't need the shower so I dont know how that was, but the bathrooms were pretty clean from what I could tell.
Only drawback -- I got kinda lost trying to find it from the Swiss Cottage station ( It was dark & I was being a stupid American with only vague directions I scribbled down..). I thought it was super close to the station but it's an uphill walk, maybe 7 minutes ? Neighborhood is quiet so I had trouble finding someone to tell me which way to go but if you have a map to look at you'll be fine.
I wasn't really excited (that's putting it mildly) to be staying in a hostel for 3 nights, but we didn't realize when we booked our trip to Europe, that we'd be staying in London during the Olympics. That meant everything was about triple the price. Rooms with one double bed elsewhere were going for $300/night, so we knew we had to take the hostel route. I'd never been in one and heard mixed reviews, but told myself that it'd be a bucket-list item and that I needed to buck up and pretend that I was on the Amazing Race.
That being said, the $75 a night was still VERY stiff for sleeping in a top bunk in a room with 7 other women (my brother was on the men's floor below).
Upon arriving at Palmer's Lodge, I was impressed by the outside (it looks like an old mansion) and equally impressed with the inside (the main floor has a huge sitting room to watch sports/movies and multiple computers for free internet)
The staff (for the most part) was friendly. 1 out of 4 wasn't as pleasant as the others, but he could be ignored.
The basement has a hotel bar and continuously played the Olympics, which I loved, since we couldn't afford to actually attend. The beers and food were better priced than at the local bars/restaurants down the street.
I was given a top bunk, with a ladder that was incredibly narrow - so I had a hard time climbing in and out of bed. I am average size, but the bed was clearly made for a child.
The washing machine and dryer were expensive; 4 euros a load & 4 euros to dry for 20 minutes (which only got your clothes from wet to damp, and not dry).
The hostel was a few miles from the city center so it was expensive to get around, even if you were taking the city bus (about 2 euro each way). One hostel (hostile) staff member kept trying to talk us into buying day passes for the subway, but their hurried instructions on how to even find it were too confusing.
The co-ed shower rooms only had 2 sinks (to every 6 showers). Although the showers were private, they only had a small area to hang your towel and dry clothes to change into (unless you wanted to dry off and dress in front of the opposite sex in the common area). The water turned off automatically about every 60 seconds, which I guess is all a part of being green. It'd just be nice to be trusted, as an adult, to turn the water off when you are actually done.
It wasn't the worst experience in my life, and I'm glad to say I did it...but I won't be doing it again.
Luxury hostels do exist. Palmer's Lodge is by far my favorite hostel in London because of the feeling I get of wanting to just stay at the hostel and relax. I've stayed in a handful of hostels and never been to another place that I felt more inclined to relax in the lounge than explore the city. While the hostel is a busier hostel because of the awards and excellent reviews it receives, it functions really well and the staff is extremely organized. The place is so clean, that it becomes routine to move your feet every morning or face the wrath of the mop on their wooden floors. The location used to be a mansion and has maintained its regal look with crimson rugs, chandeliers and polished banisters. The bunk beds have privacy curtains and their breakfast offers fruit and cereal with a hot coffee/tea machine on top of fresh toast (they toast their own toast) and jam. Internet is free here as is wifi. Showers and bathrooms are plentiful and clean on the top floors where the dorm rooms have fewer beds. I recommend staying in the smaller dorm rooms (6 or less beds) as the jumbo-sized rooms (with 28 beds) get noisy at night.
This is where I will stay from now on whenever I am looking for hostels in London. Such an awesome place! Out of 7 nights in London, my travel buddy and I lived in 3 hostels and one hotel total. Palmer's Lodge is by far the best experience. It's a beautiful, charming place in a lovely neighborhood, with easy access to the tube stations. The price is lower than YHA in central London when we stayed there, and even though YHA claims to be a 4-star hostel, I would choose Palmers over YHA anytime. The lounge area is lively, and the free wifi is awesome. The check in staff were so friendly, and not too cool for school. The only thing is that the soap dispenser in the bathroom stalls are right above the tiny sink, so it's hard to wash your face without splashing water everywhere. But they clean it daily (or more than once daily?) so I never felt the icky hostel shower grossness. Definitely my top hostel choice in London!
Palmer's is a hostel paradise. The old mansion and interior details, along with plentiful amenities such as the huge living room, bar, laundry, computers, etc. give you plenty to do while in house. It is bustling, with plenty of shared dorm rooms and beds stacked high. The front desk staff is very friendly and there are tons of travelling young people around to socialize with. It is tough to get sleep in the common rooms, as expected when there are 16+ people sharing a room. Also, you'll want to keep your things locked up tight because there are tons of people running around. The shared bathrooms are alright. They kind of have a temporary or port-a-potty feel but they get the job done. The bed linens are clean and the place seems well maintained. Location is alright, very close to buses and the Swiss Cottage underground stop - which will bring you to the rest of the city. The immediate area leaves some things to be desired - but there are a few restaurants, some drugstores and a couple of grocery outlets close by.
Stayed there repeatedly, loved it each time.
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